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My mother has MS and can barely move her arms, she cannot grip a pen, much less write anything.

She is interested in voting but she cannot sign the ballot. How can I legally help her to vote (by mail-in ballot)?

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It depends in the state. In Florida, the law says:

All electors must personally mark or designate their choices on the vote-by-mail ballot, except: (1) Electors who require assistance to vote because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write, who may have some person of the elector’s choice, other than the elector’s employer, an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of the elector’s union, mark the elector’s choices or assist the elector in marking his or her choices on the ballot.

However, the ballot must be signed and the signature must match that on file. The law regarding the voter's signature are here, and here for how they deal with non-matching signatures. The crucial part that they can only count the vote id

a. The signature on the voter’s certificate or the cure affidavit matches the elector’s signature in the registration books or precinct register; however, in the case of a cure affidavit, the supporting identification listed in subsection (4) must also confirm the identity of the elector; or

b. The cure affidavit contains a signature that does not match the elector’s signature in the registration books or precinct register, but the elector has submitted a current and valid Tier 1 identification pursuant to subsection (4) which confirms the identity of the elector.

This form is a cure affidavit. However, this form has to be signed by the voter. The procedure is that if they reject the mail-in ballot, they will inform you and you must "cure" the problem by 5pm within 2 days after the election - which may be doable if you send it in now. There is no clear statement as to how they process a substantial mismatch between the signature on file and the signature on the cure affidavit. What you should not do is attempt to forge the signature.

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  • Nice coincidence because this is Florida! Thank you for that. Frankly sounds like we're out of luck. If the election comes down to one vote, you'll know why :-) – Duke Leto Oct 19 '20 at 1:17
  • @DukeLeto is it possible for you and your mother to appear before an election official in your county? Or vote at an early voting center (I understand the lines are long, don’t know specifically about Florida. ) – Damila Oct 19 '20 at 3:22
  • No, the logistics of going anywhere are really tough, and any kind of unpredictable situation is a big problem. Ugh. – Duke Leto Oct 20 '20 at 4:01

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